The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says from July, Nigerians will be asked to submit their phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to it.
The directive is contained in the NCC’s Revised National Identity Policy for SIM Card Registration, recently presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the Commission, its plan to start the implementation of a Centralised Device Management System has been approved by the president.
A portion of the policy read: “Accordingly, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has directed that the Device Management System should be implemented within three months.
“With the aim to curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, discourage mobile phone theft, enhance National Security, protect consumer interest, increase revenue generation for the government, reduce the rate of kidnapping, mitigate the use of stolen phones for crime, and facilitate blocking or tracing of stolen mobile phones and other smart devices, one of the means to achieve this is through the deployment of Device Management System.
“The implementation of a Centralised Equipment Identity Register otherwise known as Device Management System will serve as a repository for keeping records of all registered mobile phones’ International Mobile Equipment Identity and owners of such devices.
“IMEIs that have been reported as either stolen or illegal will be shared through the DMS to all the operators and service providers.”
The IMEI number is the mobile phone’s fingerprint. It is a unique 15-digit number imprinted on a smartphone. With the IMEI number, a phone can be tracked and located irrespective of the cellular number in it.
Once the policy is implemented, the NCC will have the IMEI of Nigerian phone users, in addition to the National Identification Number (NIN) and mobile number of subscribers already in its possession.
Currently, the commission has mandated all mobile users to link their phone numbers with their NIN.